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Recent Grad Having Trouble | Reply
I graduated back in June with a BS in Computer Science. My school has a pretty good CS dept. so I didn't think it would be too hard to find an entry-level job, but it's not turned out that way. Most of the positions I find are for people with experience. My strategy so far has been to search for jobs online at sites like and Craigslist and also a few local sites. I've had a few phone calls, but not much else. Come to think of it, I don't have Topcoder listed on my resume. I do have experience competing in local programming contests styled around the ACM contest and even got to go to regionals last year. Didn't do to well, but whatever. I'm looking for any advice you can give me. Ask me anything you want. If you want to see what my resume looks like follow the link. Thanks.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Elwaryn) | Reply
Does your school have a career center? Usually going to a career fair, or arranging an interview through a career center is much better than submitting your resume to random websites.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Elwaryn) | Reply
Entry level programming job is almost impossible to find. Most of the companies require at least 5 years. Hence I think it is better to go a roundabout way and apply for general help desk sort of positions for companies that have a development team. Once you are hired and worked for a bit it will be easier for you to move to the programming team.
One possible computer field that is relatively open is Networking which is where I am currently at. If you pass a couple of Cisco tests(CCNA, CCNP) you are basically guaranteed a good job. Also in entry level Networking jobs most tasks are repetitive and better done by machine then human and hence you can work on writing scripts that make these jobs automated. If you want to go to that route search for NOCC positions.
Your resume, in my humble opinion, needs more fluff. Add more projects that you have done, maybe for fun add more info about what makes these projects unique and difficult. Also make all the experience descriptions be in the past tense.
Good luck and most importantly never despair. It took me till middle of November to get a first real computer job and I graduated in May.
Also see if any of your friends, relatives, relatives of friends, friends of relatives of friends, relatives of friends of relatives of friends.... so on know of any openings they can get you into.
Also apply to Microsoft(I'll try to find the email of the recruiter and send it to you).. worst case scenario: you'll probably get a free trip to Seatle.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by harhazahavarye) | Reply
"Entry level programming job is almost impossible to find. Most of the companies require at least 5 years."

Completely untrue. If it were true then there would be no programming industry at all. No one graduates with 5 years experience, therefore no one would ever get a job. The schools would collapse because they couldn't place any grads.

If you want an entry-level job you might have pack up and move. I think that's the bugaboo that most people won't admit to.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by nicomp) | Reply
I just got an internship. I was similar to you in that I really needed a job more than anything. I applied at best buy and some other places. I also applied at a large (fortune 500 style) technology company just for the fun of it. I wasn't expecting to even get an interview, but I did and they liked me. Point is, don't be satisfied with minimum wage at walgreens. I did that stuff in high school. you need to be getting actual experience, (plus the pay is WAY better). I might have gotten lucky, but it seems that in my area (Massachusetts) there are plenty of IT jobs for entry level and internships.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by tster123) | Reply
I quit Walgreens a week ago when I got a new job with a small software company doing software testing. I started last Wednesday. I'm still getting used to the new job, but it's a million times better than retail.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Elwaryn) | Reply

Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Elwaryn) | Reply
Congrats on the new job. I realize I am late, but I'll give you my 2 cents worth anyway, in case you decide to look again (or for others who may be in a similar boat). First, is that your college should be a big resource. It may be too late, since you have already graduated, but colleges want their students to get good jobs, and typically have a career services department explicitly to help with finding of jobs.

Second, the most reliable way of getting a job is that evil word, "networking". Again, your school may be of help here. My wife found her current job through a connection via the alumni association at her school. Also, remember that you are always networking. This doesn't mean that you should be phony and kissing up to people, but it does mean that you should be polite and professional at all times (i.e. don't tell off that boss/co-worker who *so* deserves it). Don't forget about friends and family that are in different fields, all types of companies hire IT, and you never know when they may know someone looking for an employee.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Elwaryn) | Reply
I've always thought the component competitions are fantastic opportunity for college kids because it's similar to real life (unlike the algo side) and gives you provable experience. I bolded provable because this will give your resume a huge advantage over other college kids because you can actually show your work and prove that your work was outstanding (by winning). Having done alot of interviews in my career - I can guarentee that provable experience can be trusted alot more than the bs people usually put in their resumes.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Pops) | Reply
I'd also have to say that at the college scale of living, components pay quite well. The severe downside is that, well, you have to win. This can take a while.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by antimatter) | Reply
btw - congrats on the wins you've been getting now!
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by antimatter) | Reply
btw - as somewhat proof of that - read
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Pops) | Reply
Thanks for all the great advice everyone. I did finally get a job today. Not in the IT field, just a full-time minimum wage job at Walgreens on graveyard shift, but it's enough for me to live off for now. My wages can only go up right? My shifts won't interfere with any Topcoder SRMs either so expect to see me around a bit more. Now that my job search is over I have plenty of free time at home.

I feel spoiled to have gotten replies from so many high rated members of the Topcoder community. Thank you. I agree with Pops that the component competition looks like an excellent way to prove my skills. I didn't get in in time for this round, but I'll be there on the next one. How often do new component competitions come up?
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Elwaryn) | Reply
Every week, Thursdays at 9am (Eastern time)
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Elwaryn) | Reply
That's why internships are important, and it's not always what you know, but who you know.

I got lucky (of sorts) a few years back. I was looking for an internship and didn't really find any, online or otherwise (this was in May, and most internship are handed out by then). I didn't have much experience, but I also didn't need a job as much as something to do, so the situation wasn't as urgent.

So I was strolling around on Monster (the one for colleges) and was doing research as to what kind of jobs are out there, as to prepare myself. And then I saw a job offering that was not too far from where I lived, and seems interesting. Unforunately, it required a little bit of financial background (which I had none at all, though I was very interested) and also just real experience in general. They were hiring someone relatively green (1-2 years of experience) but it was still beyond me, especially in a language I hardly knew at the time - C# - .NET is all the rave and I happen to know the little that I know from playing around in college.

To this day, I'm not quite sure what happened, but maybe I was just more arrogant at the time, so I emailed them my resume (which was very amateur-ish), telling them my situation at the time, and they pretty much replied, "We're looking for someone full-time and with a little more experience, what do you want?" To which I basically explained that all I'm looking for is an internship, and an opportunity to prove myself, being very interested in the finance field. (I had done a little research, and didn't realize there was so much math behind it)

Out of sheer luck, they decide to bring me in for an interview, and I got the internship, made a good impression, and that's that.

I guess my point is, keep trying, and don't let these requirements on jobs hold you back. Most of the time, the requirements are flexible, if you're willing to learn. And if a requirement is really strict, then try again.

Just keep in mind that being persistent doesn't usually mean doing the same thing over and over again - but keep on trying!
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Larry) | Reply
Another thing I'll point out about requirements is that sometimes jobs postings are written up by administrative personnel, completely apart from the person who will actually be doing the interviewing. I have literally seen requirements such as "10+ years developing in .NET", and other such foolishness.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by timmac) | Reply
I've seen similar on resumes.
Re: Recent Grad Having Trouble (response to post by Elwaryn) | Reply
I'd say that all of the advice given so far is very good. I've also seen literally thousands + of resumes and I can tell you that it's the candidates that follow up that get the most attention. After sending your resume try to send a follow up email... then try to call... always express your interest in that particular position, not just in "getting a job". Do your homework, learn something about the company and it will make all the difference when you get in front of them to interview.